Contributed by Ken McLemore
HOPE – The realization of almost two years of planning, development and community collaboration will be completed with the grand opening of the Bobcat Clinic, the first-ever school-based health clinic in Southwest Arkansas.
Public ceremonies are set for Tuesday, Aug. 20, at 10 a.m. in the 18th Street plaza on the Hope High School campus for the dedication, Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting, and reception.
Medical services will be provided through a partnership between Hope Public Schools and CABUN Rural Health Services, while behavioral health services will be through a partnership between HPS and Arkansas Counseling and Psychodiagnostics.
HPS Superintendent Dr. Bobby Hart said the completion of the initiative begun in February, 2018, has been largely through the leadership of Bobcat Clinic Director Gretchen Carlton and HPS Assistant Superintendent for Equity/Federal Programs Portia Jones.
“The credit for this accomplishment goes to the team of folks headed by Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Carlton, along with our school nurses group,” Dr. Hart said. “They developed and submitted the grant proposal and have been instrumental in getting us to this point.”
Operating under the oversight of the federal Department of Health and Human Services through its Health Resources and Services Administration, CABUN will provide medical services at the clinic which is housed in the remodeled Family and Consumer Science Cottage at Hope High School.
“Mrs. Carlton has taken the lead role since we received the grant, and has lead the development and partnership with CABUN, Wadley Regional Medical Center, Pafford Emergency Medical Services, and all our community partners,” Hart said.
Bobcat Clinic medical services will be available to all Hope Public Schools students, faculty, staff and personnel, he said.
“I want to remind everyone that this clinic is open and available to all HPS students and staff, Pre-K through 12,” Hart said. “It has already benefited my own family, which has taken advantage of the services. Our insurance is billed and the process was smooth. I urge other families to utilize this facility.”
Bobcat Clinic medical services hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday throughout the year with the exception of the month of July. The clinic will close from 11-11:30 a.m. daily for lunch.
The clinic will follow the HPS calendar during the academic year, and will observe HPS holidays and special campus closure days, Carlton said.
Appointments for medical services may be made by contacting the clinic at 870-722-2733. Student patients will be assessed by a school nurse on their campus and referred to the clinic for further services.
Payments for services vary with treatment provided, Carlton said.
“The cost would depend on the type of services needed,” she said. “For example, athletic physicals will be provided at no cost to the students. Other types of visits, like wellness exams, will be filed on any available insurance.”
Students and district personnel seeking treatment should register for services by completing forms required by the clinic, Carlton said.
Medical services provided include such care as well child checks, primary care for illness or injury, comprehensive annual exams, athletics physicals, lab tests, medication management, immunizations, health information, and referrals for services not provided by Bobcat Clinic.
Behavioral health services include mental health diagnosis with interpretation, treatment planning, psychiatric diagnostic assessment, pharmacologic management, therapist intervention, family sessions, crisis intervention, individual behavioral health counseling, marital/family behavioral health counseling, behavioral assistance, child/youth support, psychoeducation, psychological testing, crisis stabilization, group behavioral health counseling, individual life skills, and group life skills.
Behavioral health services are available from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, and students are treated by referral from a school counselor, nurse or a medical provider.